The Penn State men’s volleyball team has been seeded fourth and will face top-seeded Brigham Young when it returns to the National Collegiate Championships later this week.
The draw for the four-team tournament was announced Sunday afternoon, with the No. 14 Nittany Lions (23-7) drawing the No. 1 Cougars (25-4) for an 11 p.m. contest at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.
No. 12 Loyola-Chicago (22-9), which won the MIVA on Saturday night, earned the No. 3 seed and will face No. 3-ranked and second-seeded California-Irvine (23-7), the defending national champions who earned the tournament’s lone at-large berth. That match begins at 9 p.m. Thursday.
Penn State earned its spot by winning the EIVA title for the 15th straight season Saturday night, sweeping Harvard in the finals. The Nittany Lions are making their NCAA-record 28th appearance in the national tournament.
Head coach Mark Pavlik is not concerned with being the fourth seed, or the fact his team has to open with the nation’s No. 1 team.
“Seeding is just an exercise to put structure to any tournament,” Pavlik said. “We have been fortunate enough to have been to the NCAAs enough to have been every seed from one through four. We have had success in each of those and we have been beaten in those seeds. You have to play two really tough matches, so in the end it really doesn’t matter. You play as hard as you can for as long as you can, regardless of the seed, and you are either better on that day than your opponent or you are not. Being in the tournament is the overriding factor.”
BYU won the MPSF title with a 3-0 sweep of Long Beach State on Saturday.
The semifinal matches will not be available on television, only online at NCAA.com, and on the radio on WRSC-FM. The semifinal winners will battle in the championship match at 9 p.m. Saturday. That match will be shown live on ESPNU.
The Nittany Lions and Cougars did not meet during the regular season. BYU won two meetings in Provo, Utah, last year. Penn State beat Loyola 3-0 in Rec Hall in January, and lost 3-0 at UC-Irvine on April 13, and 3-1 in last season’s national semifinals.